Room For Baby

We live in a three bedroom house.  There’s more than enough room for our family as it stands now.  Alexa has a fairly large room, our master bedroom is ample enough for our needs, and we have an office (though it’s mostly Peter’s).  Where does that leave the second child?

We’ve considered three options.

  1. We could leave everything as is since the baby will be in our room for the first 6 months or so, if not more if he/she is anything like Alexa.  This would give us almost a year and a half to deal with what comes next.
  2. We could set Alexa’s room up as a shared space with her new “big girl bed” and the crib.  This means that the dressers would have to be in the closets since there wouldn’t really be any wall space for much else.  The room is large but a whole wall is taken up by 2 full-sized closets.  TONS of storage, but not many room configurations available. We would also have to deal with kids that may or may not want to share their sleeping space.
  3. Our last option is the one that costs TEH monies.  This is the one we’re leaning towards.  It would involve gutting the extra (though decrepit) 4th bedroom in the attic.  New insulation would be installed, new walls, new flooring.  Lines for cable and power would need to be run so they fit Peter’s needs.  New windows would have to be installed since it’s the last floor of the house without new ones.  Luckily there’s already heat up there, but an AC unit would most likely get a permanent home in the wall.  TONS of work!  THEN his old office would need a new closet built since the current one is teeny.  Heat needs to be ran (yeah…heat in the attic but not in his room, weirdness).  Molding installed since we were lazy on that one.  Then paint touch-ups and decorating.  The downside is the WORK and the COST involved of course.  The benefit is that the new baby would have space all of its own once the time comes to need it, and Alexa wouldn’t have to feel like her’s was being invaded.

Which would you choose?  Would you just put it off till later?  If the baby stays in our room at all I’ll most likely “side-car” the crib instead of buying or borrowing another co-sleeper.  If the baby wants its own space I’ll move the crib across the room

Do any of you have toddlers sharing a room with a baby?  Is it horrible?  Do the kiddies love each other’s company?  I think it’s a sweet option, especially if the next turns out to be a sister.  I’ve always had dreams of a sister to talk to as I drift off to sleep.  Someone to share secrets with.  Do you think it’s selfish not to give each child their own space if your house can accommodate it?

Is it worth the time and money to turn our house into a true 4 bedroom?  It would increase the sale value in the future.  It would be nice to have it complete before the baby comes instead of when he/she is 6 months old and we’re desperate for a change.  Would you do anything you could to keep your kids in their own rooms?  I’ve never shared a room so I have no idea what it’s really like.

HELP PLEASE!  I’m torn.

I Quit!

I’ve been a smoker most of my adult life. I kinda sorta smoked as a teen, then started for real when I was 18. I wanted to lose weight HA! Somewhere along the line I got hooked and smoked up until I found out I was pregnant. Sure I’d quit once in a while. I’d only smoke a few a day, or sometimes just one….but I don’t think I ever quit for more than a few days.

When I got pregnant I couldn’t stand the smell. I couldn’t really stand the smell of anything, but cigarette smoke was terrible! I was convinced that since it was so easy to quit that time that I would be able to do it for good. When the babe came 10 weeks early and spent the first month and change of her life in the NICU there was no way I would smoke. I had to go visit her every day. I didn’t even think about starting, no matter how stressful, it just didn’t come up. It was like I was still pregnant, I was still her lifeline, she needed me to be smoke free. Even when she came home and it was tough; no sleep, constant pumping or nursing, new parent syndrome…all that jazz…still no smoking.

It wasn’t until a few months after we brought the babe home that I caved. You see my mother was visiting…hahaha…you see where this is going. I love my mom, but she drives me batty. I’m sure most people can say that. I was also dealing with some delayed onset PPD and my shrink was making me feel worse about myself. That, with all the other stress, did me in. I demanded that a pack of cigarettes find their way back to our house on the boy’s way home from work. I had no idea that would be the end of things….the long spiral back to addiction.

When I did smoke I always made sure to be as careful as possible (and as hidden….it was a pretty dark secret I tried to keep from many people). I didn’t want any kind of secondhand smoke around my daughter…or 3rd. I would wear a “smoking jacket” even if it was 100 degrees out. I sometimes even a glove LOL. I tied my hair back and tried to keep the smoke away from me, errr? Hands were scrubbed as soon as I was done, mouth was rinsed out with Listerine, and face was washed. I had this whole procedure down…and it stayed that way for 2 years. I never smoked anywhere near my daughter and I was always paranoid that I wasn’t doing enough to keep her safe (ya know, other than just quitting). It was all too much.

I’d also become a smoker that despised the smell of it. I’m sure I still smelled, at least a little bit, but people who did nothing to clean or mask the stench drove me up the wall. If someone was visiting that smelled like a freshly smoked cigarette I wanted to vomit. Worse were the ones that smelled like stale ones. I couldn’t deal with the idea that I smelled like that. It was time to quit.

When I quit for my baby it was out of love and necessity. This time I’m doing it for me…because I made the decision it was time. No one had to talk me into it, no one had to push or harass, I just wanted to be done. I decided to try Chantix. I’ve had friends who had great success with it and found out my insurance covered the Rx 100% so there was nothing to lose. Hell, even if I had to pay for it…it would have saved me money in the long run if it worked. And it DID work. My first prep week of smoking and taking the meds were riddled with weird dreams and the feeling that smoking was now a chore. I didn’t feel like I was getting a break from life…standing outside with my cigarette…it felt like work. My brain was no longer being flooded with dopamine every time I enhaled…there was nothing pleasurable about the action.

Since my quit date of April 1st (NOT an April Fools joke LOL) I haven’t had a cigarette. Not a puff! Sure, there have been cravings but they passed. The first few days were the hardest as the nicotine worked its way out of my system. It’s been almost a month and I’m absolutely thrilled. I’ve saved a little over $100 already and can’t wait to celebrate with a Spa Day. My skin feels better so now it’s time to pamper it

I hope I never smoke again. Sure I’m a little sad to think I can never have a cigarette ever again. I’ve had my little stinky buddies around for most of the past 14 years. That said, I want to live a long healthy life with my family and I want to be a good example for my daughter. I also don’t want to stink like that ever again!

This entry was posted in Health.

Religious Secrets

I’ve been going to church. Well, they call it a “meeting-house” and they don’t talk about any specific god or religion. Really…they talk about ALL religions. They honor everyone’s beliefs (or lack there of). It’s a Unitarian Universalistcongregation and I kinda love it.

You see, the boy is a recovering Catholic and I’m an atheist/humanist. He sees the synergy between physics and a “higher power” while I have a more academic curiosity about the idea of faith and cultural beliefs. He studies hard sciences and I study the soft ones. Together we both have interest in the idea of religion, but don’t care to belong to a traditional one.

Aside for our own desire to learn, we also want to expose our daughter to various belief systems. I don’t care that she decides to join one faith or another…I just want her to understand the differences and similarities between different cultures and people. I want her to be tolerate of others, and compassion for their beliefs is a good place to start.

The UU has welcomed us with open arms. We haven’t been to many Sunday services, though we have spent a few holidays with the congregation. The meeting-house is such a warm and beautiful place. We’re considering a “path to membership” at some point in the future, but are moving slow. One reason may be because we have yet to come out to our families; mine because they may think I’m a weirdo for going to “church” when I don’t believe in God, and his because they may feel like he’s lost his faith and they failed.

Religion is such a touchy subject. I don’t feel the need to have it in my own life because I don’t “believe” but I do understand the comfort it brings some. I also cherish the community it builds and often felt like that was missing from my life. I’m thrilled to have found it in UU.

Game On

I’ve been playing a new game. It’s a diet based on this book. You play for 4 weeks in teams. It’s hard! You have to drink a ton of water, eat a healthy diet, workout 6 times a week, adjust your habits (one bad, one good), and sleep more. As you can see, it’s not really just a diet. Sure there’s a weight lose component for most playing, but it can just as easily suit someone trying to get healthier…or someone training for a sporting event. It’s really a whole lifestyle upheaval.

They say it takes 28 days for anything to become a habit…so the timing of this game is not an accident. Hopefully by the time this round is up I will be accustomed to eating healthy. I’m trying to curb my sweet tooth, and end my terrible sugar addiction. I could seriously be happy with a bag of mini Reese’s cups instead of a real dinner. Not good. I know it sounds hard to only eat “real” food…and it is certainly a lot of prep-work and cooking, but it’s the foods we’re SUPPOSED to be eating.

So far we’re a week in and everyone has lost weight. Sadly the other team is winning. I honestly don’t care about who gets the prize…I’m just trying to jump-start my metabolism and reboot my health  I’m thrilled with the non-scale results as well. I’ve started to enjoy cooking for my family again, running is getting easier, and I’ve discovered a love of Spinning!

Let’s Do Some Math

I’ve been thinking about how far behind I feel.  How much I should have accomplished by this point in my life.  That I should have some sort of career or at least mildly successful hobby.  That I should have been able to find myself, aren’t your 30′s supposed to be easier?  So basically I’m 3 or 4 years behind.

Then I remembered, I’ve only just graduated from college 5 years ago.  In the normal world, not my version of reality, a person tends to graduate from college when they’re 22.  That means that 5 years later they would only be 27.  So maybe I’m really just in my mid-late 20′s in my head?  I’ll take 27 any way I can get it!

I took a few years off after H.S.  First I went to beauty school **cue music**, then I decided that sucked and moved off to Alabama for a few months.  When I returned I went back to community college half assed (only took 3 classes, only attended 1, LOL).  Then it all went “downhill”.  While I don’t regret a moment of the FUN, it was still a bad time in my life.  Lots of partying, lots of controlled substance, lots of debauchery, and even more dancing!  When my mother tired of the bullshit she sent me packing.  That meant I had to support myself, in NYC for fucks sake!  After a year I decided the real world was for suckers and went back home…and back to school.  For real this time.

When I reentered college I was 21, a few years older and wiser than most Freshman.  I took it  super seriously.  I was a star student (3.985 GPA bitches!).   When I graduated I was 25.  My father sometimes likes to say that “where you are when you’re 25 is where you’ll be mentally for the rest of your life”.  If that’s true I was a recent college grad painfully excited by the idea of going back to grad school soon for my Masters of PhD even.  Maybe that’s why I love the idea of being in school forever?  It might be one of the reasons the thought of being a teacher appeals to me, even though I keep fighting it.

If I think of my life in terms of being 4 years behind I get depressed….but if I think of my mind in terms of being 27 then I’m right on target, whatever that target might be.  Hell it means that, mentally speaking of course, I bought my first house at 23, had a baby when I was 25, and will be returning to the “real world” at 27.  That doesn’t sound so bad after-all.   The best part is, it frees me up to reconsider a little more education, maybe a teaching certification is in my future :-)

Can She Sparkle?

If you’ve ever watched Toddlers & Tiaras you’ve heard them refer to stage presence (well the great kind) as sparkling.  I’ve had a marathon on in the background for the better part of this afternoon and night [1. Is it weird that I'm starting to see repeats of ones I've seen already?  Is that more sad?].  I think I’ve been brain washed.  Do you think Alexa would SPARKLE?

Peter and I have joked about entering her into a pageant.  My father taught her the “Queen Wave” when she was learning to gesture hello and goodbye.  He meant the Queen, as in like…Queen Elizabeth…not a beauty queen.  One day while my half-sister was visiting [2. Who is super annoying and always has to have the last word.], she started talking about T&T and said we should put Alexa in a pageant.  HA!  I then quipped back that she’d need a spray-tan, a flipper, and some hair pieces.  Apparently my sis thought I was serious and got all huffy that I “better not”! [3. She also wasn't pleased when I joked that I would bf till Alexa was 6, yeah...told me she would "beat me" if I was "one of those moms".  She's fun!]

Fast forward to today, where you’ll find me Googling NJ based competitions for shits and giggles.  Low and behold, I found one that’s being held this October.  Yes, I’m actually considering entering, because I’m a loser and need a new hobby.  Come on, she’s freakin’ adorable :-)  They have a “Natural” pageant the first day, and a “Glitz”the second.  OK OK, I’m not actually crazy, I wouldn’t do Glitz where you have to primp and prod your poor kid.  But hey, Natural sounds pretty benign.  Right?

I think it would be fun to do once, but do I want to become a scary pageant mom?  NOOOOOO!  So ummmm, yay or nay?

What Breastfeeding Wasn’t

I want to preface this post by saying that I love that we’ve been able to breastfeed for so long (17 months tomorrow).  I am proud to have been able to provide nourishment and comfort for my daughter with my own body.  I am lucky to have had the support necessary to make it through the rough patches.  I adore the bonding time we’ve spent together when she was just a wee little baby, and the cuddles that we share now that she’s a toddler.

For all the joy breastfeeding as brought me, it certainly wasn’t:

Natural -  For the first 5 weeks of Alexa’s life I was hooked to a hospital grade pump.  As most of you know, she was born way early, so we spent a good long time in the NICU.  She wasn’t able to nurse until the week she was released, and even then she was no good at it.  I pumped for hours and hours on end, took all kinds of herbs and meds to get my low supply up.  Brought home blankets she had slept with to “sniff” for the pheromones, and had to watch slides shows of her photos to evoke my own hormones.  Had blood tests ran, saw the lactation consultants at 2 different hospitals and the one renting me the pump.  They were all ready to give up on me.  I was left pretty much on my own and with the help of my friends online I learned how to suffer through it till she got home.

Free - Like I mentioned above, we had to rent a $75 a month machine to milk me.  We also purchased the Pump In Style to use once the NICU stay was over.  Neither worked, both were wastes of money.  At least insurance ended up reimbursing us for the hospital version and I sold my PIS to an LJ friend who’s broke.  Add to that the cost of all the herbs and internatinally shipped medications.  Then the bottles and formula we had to buy because Alexa needed a higher calorie version due to low weight, and the regular formula after she gained enough because we were still supplementing.  Oh, there were many other nursing supplies that were purchased.  SOOOO not free.

Easy - Even after all the above mentioned issues were worked out we had some pretty horrid nipple confusion.  That meant I lived and died by my nipple shields.  See, they basically make your boobs shape like a bottle.  I had many many many pairs because I couldn’t be bothered washing them over and over throughout the day.  I was thrilled when we were done with them after about 4 months, but couldn’t toss them.  Hell, the fuckers cost like $6 a pair.  Luckily I had a friend that wanted to have some on hand, so I gladly packed them up and sent them to her!  Funny though, now it hurts so bad because she’s lazy and basically comfort nursing.  I could probably use a pair or 2 again :P

Comfortable - While I was fairly protected from her bad latch with the shields, it was still pretty painful.  First off the pump killed.  I turned it up far too high because I wasn’t getting anything and was distraught.  So I cranked it up all the way to try to force it.  To no avail.  I had to wear hard plastic nipple protectors because it hurt if they touched anything.  There was also a pretty nasty case of thrush that lasted for weeks.  Luckily that happened somewhat recently, because I totally would have given up had it occurred in the first few weeks.  I don’t know how you mamas do it when your nipples end up looking like hamburger meat.  My hats off to you for sure!  Now, like I mentioned before, Alexa’s latch is terrible.  She’s not getting much out of me, so she lets her teeth rest on my nip.  OUCH!  Beyond the boob pain, my back is wrecked.  She never really let me get comfortable while nursing.  I’ve sat for a year+, hunched over my child, while she lays flat on the Boppy.  Dammit to hell if I can ever recline!  Then there’s the night nursing (which is almost done I hope) but sleeping propped up on my side for so long has left me pretty banged up feeling.

A fat melter – Nope nope nope still fat!  Yeah…maybe it has something to do with my love of snack cakes, HAHA, but still?  In the beginning, when most people melt away, specially ones with babes that nurse day and night.  Nope, I was left basically the same weight as when I was preggo.  WTF?  I’m truly hoping that I’m one of those freaks that just cannot lose weight till after we wean completely.

Less work than formula – I can honestly say, we would have had an easier time if she was exclusively bottle fed.  Since we had to do both, we had to deal with the hardships from each side.  Bottles to clean, nipple sheilds to scrub.  Powder to measure, boobs to pump.  We had to supplement for months because she just wasn’t getting it…then once she did “get it” we still gave her a bottle here and there.  Now, she gets “milk” in a bottle because she’s not a huge fan of anything other than water in her cups.  The bottles just will not go away, and I still have to whip my boob out, only now she screams and drags the Boppy over to tell me what she wants, ha!

A cure-all – I know people swear that breast-milk wards off just about everything nasty for new babies.  Well Alexa really doesn’t get sick, but she has had 2 ear infections and has some pretty ugly allergies.  I’m not saying she would have been better had she been BF exclusively…or would be worse off had she only gotten formula.  But it didn’t work it’s magic over here.

I do realize that my situation was different than most.  We didn’t have the normal experience of learning together right after birth.  I’m guessing that had things went smoothly things would have been far different.  But I will never know how it feels to just do what comes naturally.

Would I go back and change anything if I could?  Maybe?  Sometimes I wonder if Alexa had been bottle fed, would she have been a better sleeper?  If we had weaned sooner would she be better able to spend time away from me?  Do I think I could ever do this again?  I really don’t, and that’s one of the reasons I honestly don’t think there will be a sibling for Alexa.

**That said, I’m still a strong supporter of breastfeeding.  I know it’s the best, most perfect food for babies.  But it’s hard, and a lot of times people don’t tell you that it doesn’t always come naturally.  Far too many mothers out there are left feeling like failures when they can’t breastfeed because they weren’t warned that it is work.  I know my own mother was no help because it all “came so easily” for her so she had no idea how to help.  I hope that by being honest about my experience, and that by also showing that even though some of it sucked we still made it…that maybe someone out there will be inspired to stick with it if they’re so inclined to soldier through :-)

Cribs NO!

Remember when I posted this, Cribs Yo, back in March?  Well for the past month or so…Alexa has NOT been sleeping in her beautiful crib.  That piece of furniture that makes a bedroom a nursery.  Yup, nope!

For whatever reason she decided that she would NOT be put down in there.  It doesn’t help that she’s way too capable of standing up, flipping over, jumping up and down in there.  When we do try, every once in a while, she screams bloody murder.  She’ll get up as soon as I put her down, then I lay her back down, and she’s up again.  Rinse, lather, repeat, till we’re both exhausted.  I would have tried to do it till she was too tired to move, but she gets to a point where she’s physically done, but won’t stop.  That’s when she starts to fall…and I’m just not ok with letting her smack her head against the railing while I try to outlast her.

The other issue is that she rolls ALL over the place when she’s trying to settle down.  Even when she’s in a good mood she’ll flip back and forth.  It’s only been the last few nights that she’s started to lay calmly if she can hug my neck while she drifts off(awwww).  Even still, she wiggles in her sleep.  Being in such a confined space as a crib means for many wake ups when she whacks her head against the railing, or she she smashes her little body up into the corner.

So, basically, we’ve given up the fight.  She sleeps on the full size mattress on the floor in her room.  I’ve been thinking of just getting rid of her crib all together so there’s more room in there.  Sure, it turns into a toddler bed, and she might be ok with that once she’s a little older, but what’s the point?  It’s not like it will keep her in bed once the railing is off and there’s just that short one installed to keep her from falling out.

So, should I just sell it?  I know I’ve mused about maybe having another baby..hahaha…or not.  But really, that’s not happening anytime soon, and maybe not ever.  I don’t want to keep things around “just in case” because the clutter and what-if’s will drive me batty.

Is there some good reason why we should keep it?  Is there some stage of development that I’m missing that will magically make her want to be in there?  Tell me please, otherwise…it’s coming down this weekend and getting posted on Craigslist :-)

Post Baby Crazies

Last week I felt totally out of control.  I was being vicious with those around me…and myself.  I thought I was heading back into one of my deep depressions.  I didn’t want to do anything, be seen by anyone, and didn’t want to be talked to.  Peter and I had been at each other’s throats and of course it was “all his fault”.  It almost felt like PPD, but it’s been over a year, it can’t be that right?

Then, I started getting crampy.  I had tweeted (or posted on FB, I forget) a few days before that I felt off and wondered if my foul mood had been PMS.  I forgot about it since the cramping stopped.  I just passed off the bad mood to something that was wrong with my environment, rather than something wrong with me.

Well, the cramps came back with avengence, and then my period started.  I knew it was due, but wasn’t expecting it right that second!  Low and behold, my mood was immediately lifted.  Like the the nastiness was literally draining out of me.  Weird right?

I did some research and what I found was something called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).  While I had  certainly heard the term from all those ridiculous Yaz commercials, I had never giving it much thought, and of course never looked it up.  I just assumed that was another version of PMS that the pharmaceutical companies were pimping to sell their birth control pills.

What I found, though, fits my symptoms exactly!  Like so close to how I feel, I’m beginning to think that a lot of my issues over the past decade may have been related.  Specially the times when I’ve been off of birth control and had my “normal” body chemistry to deal with (though, the pregnancy sure took its toll on my body, so who knows).

As some of you already know, I had my IUD removed a while back…and since then have gotten my “friend” back every month.  I’ve been somewhat nasty to be around right before each period since.  This months “PMS time” was far worse than any this year.  I’m thinking that Alexa’s weaning has something to do with the abrupt change in hormones as well.  I’ve been weepy and weird ever since her nursing has decreased.

So, I took a little quiz to see if my issue fit the disorder.  I scored a big fat YES.  I’m not really sure what to do now.  We’re getting some ‘ish figured out with the behavioral health portion of our insurance, so I can’t just run off to a therapist right this second.  Also, you’re supposed to track your moods with this handy chart for a while before anyone will diagnose you anyway.  My first step will be to print this page out and start tracking.

I feel better just knowing (or really really thinking that I know) what the cause of my problems have been.  Even when it happens again next month, and I’m assuming it will, at least I know it will end in a few days.  I’ve talked to Peter about it, and hopefully he’ll remind me, kindly, that it will pass and it’s just my hormones talking.  I don’t really hate him ;D

Have any of you ever suffered from something similar?

Want It Wednesday – Stacking & Sorting

Today I’m starting, what I hope will be a weekly feature. This is the place where I’ll show you all the things I’m lusting after. Sometimes they’ll be toys for Alexa (yeah…I still want her to play with the pretty things instead of plastic crap, lol), sometimes they’ll be mama things for me.  Who knows what else will end up in the space :-)

Today I want to show you just the cutest, sigh, wooden toys.  Alexa has finally come to the stage where she can put the toy in the corresponding slot (instead of just taking all the toys out of the bin), stack blocks (instead of knocking them down), and fit pegs in a hole (instead of just chewing on the base).

I have to be honest for a second, we had one of those Playskool sorting boxes.  The pukey plastic pink one.  It was a gift.  Alexa barely used it, and mostly just wanted to dump the toys out on the floor.  I sold it at the consignment sale this spring!  HAHAH opps!

Here are my picks for the week:

Chakempil And It’s Mouse
This wooden stacking ring toy is adorable.  When your child gets to the base they find a mouse!  Available at Amazon.com
I really think Alexa would get a kick out of the cat head on the top. She just adores her other kitty toys, so this would be fitting for her current faves.

Educo Pyramid of Play
A wooden stacking, sorting, shape matching, letter/number/picture recognition toy.  Available at Amazon.com
While we were at the last developmental assessment, Alexa seemed to really like playing with their sorting box, so I feel like it’s time that I replace the one I sold off :-)

If I were to pick just one, I would pick the pyramid.  While I ponder which toy I think she’ll get the most use out of, I’m also left wondering which toys need to be packed away.  There are many things she doesn’t seem to care a lick about, so I might as well start rotating them now before she gets attached and notices when I hide them away.  We just got the playroom in order (read about it HERE on my Re-organizing Mom blog), and I do not want to start overwhelming the space with too much stuff!

I’ll leave you with a question.  What toys have you been lusting after for your children?  Are they still young enough that you enjoy shopping for them, or are they at an age now where you just want them to stop begging for a new…thing?